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Nation and world briefs


USCCB, others urge Supreme Court to protect faith-based foster care

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and a few Catholic Charities agencies have joined more than 30 other religious groups, states and a group of Congress members urging the Supreme Court to protect Philadelphia’s faith-based foster care. The groups filed friend-of-the court briefs in early June in Fulton v. Philadelphia, which the court will hear next term to determine if Philadelphia can exclude a Catholic social services agency from the city’s foster care program because the agency does not accept same-sex couples as foster parents. The briefs argued that the court should allow the city’s Catholic social service agency to continue its foster care role and protect faith-based ministries nationwide to ensure they maintain their First Amendment religious exercise rights.

Retired Bishop George Murry dies after two-year battle with leukemia

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Bishop George V. Murry, the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, died June 5 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York, after a two-year battle with leukemia, the diocese announced. He was 71. Bishop Murry had been admitted to Sloan Kettering for in-patient treatment May 30, a few days after submitting a letter of resignation to Pope Francis. The bishop, who was receiving treatment for his illness from St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic, cited his limited stamina and the advice of his physicians for his decision to resign. Funeral arrangements are pending. Bishop Murry was appointed to the Diocese of Youngstown in 2007. During his tenure, he served in other capacities with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, the Committee for Religious Liberty and the Committee on Catholic Education.

USCCB migration chairman says Senate needs to act on ‘Dreamer,’ TPS bill

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration has urged the U.S. Senate to take action and pass a bill to protect “Dreamers” and as well beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs. Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville’s statement, issued late June 4, came on the first anniversary of House passage of the American Dream and Promise Act, H.R. 6, which provides a pathway to citizenship for those brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents. Best known as “Dreamers,” they are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. H.R. 6 also outlines a citizenship path for holders of Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, and Deferred Enforced Departure, known as DED. TPS is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of specifically designated countries that are confronting an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. DED also is a temporary immigration benefit for individuals from countries and regions facing similar situations.

Beaumont bishop retires; pope names Florida priest successor

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of Beaumont, Texas, and named as his successor Msgr. David L. Toups, president and rector of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, Florida. A native of Seattle, Bishop-designate Toups, 49, is a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, and has been seminary president and rector in Boyton Beach since 2012. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States, announced the changes June 9 in Washington. Bishop Guillory, one of 10 African American Catholic bishops, is the first African American bishop to head a diocese in Texas. On June 10, Pope Francis also appointed Redemptorist Father Bruce A. Lewandowski as an auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. He currently is the pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Southeast Baltimore. Bishop-designate Lewandowski is originally from Toledo, Ohio. He has served parishes in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Maryland.


Ex-Salvadoran colonel goes on trial in Spain for 1989 Jesuit murders

MADRID — A former military commander accused of killing six Jesuits and two women working with the Society of Jesus during El Salvador’s civil war went on trial June 8 in Spain, offering hopes of justice for crimes that have wallowed in impunity for more than three decades. Inocente Orlando Montano, a former colonel in the Salvadoran army and former deputy defense minister, appeared in a Spanish courtroom wearing a health mask and seated in a wheelchair to face charges of murder and a sentence of up to 150 years in prison, if convicted. Prosecutors allege Montano, 76, participated in “the decision, design or execution of the killings” in 1989.

China makes preaching patriotism compulsory to reopen churches

BEIJING — Catholics are upset about a directive from China’s communist government asking priests to “preach on patriotism” as a condition for reopening liturgical services, suspended earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ucanews.com reported the Catholic Patriotic Association and the Chinese Catholic educational administration committee of Zhejiang province jointly issued a notice May 29 on the resumption of liturgical activities. “Religious places that meet the conditions of epidemic prevention will resume services from June 2,” it said while adding the patriotism requirement. Father Liu of Hebei told ucanews.com it would be good to resume church activities, but the requirement on patriotism “is wrong. As members of the universal Catholic Church, we cannot accept and glorify what communists consider patriotic education.”

Pope creates fund for workers in Rome struggling in wake of pandemic

VATICAN CITY — With so many people left unemployed or in a precarious position because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis launched a fund aimed specifically at helping people in Rome struggling economically in the wake of the crisis. “This fund is meant to be a sign that can urge people of goodwill to offer a concrete gesture of inclusion, especially toward those who are seeking comfort, hope and a recognition of their rights” and dignity as workers, wrote the pope, who is the bishop of Rome. The pope invited priests, citizens, institutions and organizations to donate to the fund, called “Gesu Divino Lavoratore” (“Jesus the Divine Worker”) and he announced he had made an initial allocation of 1 million euro ($1.12 million) to the Rome diocesan Caritas.

— Catholic News Service

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